Friday, August 29, 2014

August 29th

This morning Ken and Sue Barnhart furnished donuts.

Gene and Mary wanted to have biscuits and gravy some morning so some of us got together and decided to have a Brunch Monday, Labor Day, Gene, with the help of Bobby and Ken will do biscuits and gravy and scrambled eggs, the rest of us will bring a side dish. Hoping Ken's knee gets to feeling better, he hurt it yesterday and was in quite a bit of pain last night. He found out it was a strain.

The biggest news is the rain we are getingt today and also good chance Sat. and Sun. And I just saw that next week good chances for more rain. The trees and grass are suffering right now so this is great news. Now things will green up and be beautiful for when you all come down! I was talking to Grace Thornton from Iowa yesterday and she said it has rained and rained in Iowa for the last week or so, and the farmers are hoping that will end soon as harvest is just around the corner!

I was at the Walmart Neighborhood Market when it opened Thursday. It's on the corner of 18th and Texas. It is very nice and folks are so friendly. some freebies and a Mariochee band played for a bit in the morning. There's a pharmacy there but of course no clothes or garden center, just the food. It will be great for the neighborhood there, but since we are so close to HEB and to the big Walmart , I probably won't shop there unless they have some good bargains advertised. The pharmacy may take some of the load off the big Walmart. There are 4 of these  Neighborhood Markets in the Valley which hire about 700 people so this is great, all of these are here in Hidalgo County, 2 in McAllen, 1 in Mission and now here in Weslaco. Oh, by the way they are open 24 hours.

More next week

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday August 22nd

I am still trying to get used to this hot weather. The weather man says 100, each day for the next week, yuk!
I feel sorry for Alex and Roberto, they started the tarring of the streets yesterday. I don't know how they can stand it. They were covered with tar and shoes too. They had to quit early as the wind got to blowing so bad. they did all of Orange St. yesterday and back in the 99's today

We sure had tasty finger food last Wednesday. Donuts provided by the Mason's this week.

The card up for signing is for former residents whose Grandaughter passed away, she had 2 lungtransplants but cancer spread in other places. The Sextons were at the Story City potluck and Teresa talked to everyone about the grand daughters condition.

I had an enjoyable drive over to the new Walmart in Elsa this morning, the roads are all 4 lane with new blacktop, very nice roads and some beautiful homes along the way, many little businesses I had never known were on that road, the store was gorgious and only a handful of people shopping.
Our little  Walmart "Market" will be opening, I think someone said the end of this month, on 18th street.

The parrots are still in the park every evening and mornings, there were about 30 of them on the electric wires on the North end of the park.

I also took this picture of the fountain Ken Barnhart made for Mary Freundshuh, she loves it and it's really beautiful.

There's been a mass of Martins coming and going at their home, they seem to be organizing for a trip South maybe, yesterday there were only 5 or 6 birds the neighbors said just before we got home from Iowa there was over 100 birds flying all around the house and most of them sat on the electric wires behind our house.
We took 2 Martin houses down already. And just this morning Bobby and Ken took the last house down.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday august 15th

We left Sunday morning and arrived Monday around 7:00p.m. I guess we were anxious to get back to the 100 degree weather here, yuk! Miss the cool mornings and evening in Iowa.

Ken and Cheryl Costley provided the donuts this morning. There are no cards up to sign.
Sorry I didn't get this posted until late tonight

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Last day at Clermont

Marc Frana came to entertain us today! Remember he was in our park 2 years ago, he played at our "Happy Hours" in the park.

some folks came by just for the day today, Duffy's were on their way to Hobo Days in Britt,Iowa, they brought their truck, it will be in the car show in Britt.

Heidi was excited to see Pepper

Laverne and Yvonne Sherman's Daughter and Grand daughter, and Myla, (Miles Stensland's Daughter) and Lavern, all went tubing down the River.

Some danced but most everyone just sat and listened to the music and visited.
Tom Benson did around 85    1/2 chickens on the grill....and we all brought side dishes
Here's a picture of the grills with the chicken cooking on them, Tom and Bobby had to turn the chicken when they were done on one side, it was quite a sight to see them turn the whole rack over...

Friday, August 8, 2014

Yogurt Factory

Tom and Mary Lou Benson sure have made the Campout special for all of us, they did their best to find interesting things for us to do, like shopping, touring different places, finding us good eating places, they personally traveled to each of these places to see if we might be interested in going. we owe them a great big "Thank you" , here's another tour they arranged for us. A farm where they raise and milk cows, some of the milk is used to make yogurt. Several times in the past years we went on a boat on the Mississippi and all of us liked to go to the many gift and antique shops, quilting shops etc.eastern Iowa is so beautiful with its rolling hills and forests and bean and corn fields, it would be wonderful to visit eastern Iowa in the Fall to see the Fall foliage.
These pictures were taken at Hawkeye where we got a tour on the making of yogurt
A family in rural Fayette County hopes to put a little culture in Northeast Iowa's diet, specifically a creamy, all-natural yogurt from cows free of bovine growth hormone....
We were given a lecture on how they made the yogurt. And we had a taste of the frozen yogurt, which was very tasty, and some sampled the fruit yogurts.

A little history

Dave and Carolee Rapson's Country View Dairy has processed milk from its Holstein cows into yogurt since 2011.

During that time the product line has expanded and the consumer base has grown. They started with original yogurt and added a Greek line. Their newest product is premium frozen yogurt soft-serve mix. They continue to add flavors and are considering other products.

"Things continue to grow," Dave said. "We were very fortunate to get it started. It's taken a lot of effort. Marketing is huge, and you work at it very hard. There's a lot of competition but we've been moving ahead."
Country View sells its yogurt to 12 northeast Iowa public schools plus seven colleges in Minnesota and Iowa. They sell to more than 70 grocery stores and restaurants and through three distributors — including one that serves the Chicago area, another in Minnesota and one that handles only Iowa-made products. They sell at the downtown Cedar Rapids Farmers Market and through the Iowa Food Coop.
Country View Dairy will have a tent at the Field of Dreams reunion this summer in Dyersville and their products have been added to the Farmer's Pick Buffet at the Isle of Capri Casino in Waterloo. Country View products can be purchased at the People's Food Coop in Rochester, Minn.
The Rapsons moved their dairy herd from Michigan to Hawkeye in 2002.
"We don't have a lot of ground, just 60 acres tillable, and after the 2009 dairy crunch, feed prices have been high and we decided we needed to do something else," Dave said. "Ground is very valuable here and we decided to work the other end and value add."
Carolee had been making homemade yogurt for a couple of years, a product that her family enjoyed.
They met with the Hansen family at Hudson who built an on-farm creamery and were bottling milk and making cheese, butter and ice cream.
"We didn't know if we should do milk, cheese or ice cream, and Jay Hansen suggested yogurt and referred us to Sugar River Dairy, a yogurt maker in Wisconsin," Dave said. "We visited Sugar River and he was a big help. We settled on yogurt. No one else in northeast Iowa was doing a farmstead yogurt. We started experimenting and researching and doors kept opening so we kept moving ahead."
The family built its gleaming state-certified yogurt processing plant from the ground up working closely with a milk inspector.
In fall 2011, Country View started making yogurt.
"Our product is all natural and local," Dave said.
The yogurt is cup set. It's liquid when it goes into the cup and yogurt cultures set it up in the incubation room where the product sits for six hours at 108 degrees before it goes into the cooler. All the yogurt is 1 percent milk fat and non-homogenized, making digestion easier.
"We add no thickeners," Dave said. "Our product tastes good because of its simplicity. It tastes the way yogurt should taste."
Country View's original yogurt comes in a variety of flavors in six- and 24-ounce cups and three- and five-pound tubs. Flavors are are plain, vanilla, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, black cherry, lime and peach.
The farm's line of Greek yogurt, which has nearly double the protein of original yogurt, comes in six-ounce cups with fruit on the bottom in raspberry, strawberry, peach and blueberry. They also make lemon custard. They sell plain in 24-ounce cups and plain and lemon custard in five-pound tubs.
Country View milks cows three times a day in a double-12 parlor. Cows are housed in a free-stall barn with sand bedding.
The Rapsons use about a day's milk each week for yogurt. The rest is shipped to Wapsie Valley Creamery in Independence.
When the Rapsons are processing yogurt, their rBST-free Grade A milk goes straight from the parlor to the processing plant through a pipeline. It is separated, pasteurized and the cultures and flavors are added.
They must test each batch for antibiotics. Pasteurizing and washing are recorded on a chart. Once each month, the state milk inspector comes and takes samples.
"This is very closely regulated," Dave said.
Processing generally takes place Monday through Thursday with Friday as the catch-up day when they box up yogurt cups.
The operation has three employees plus Dave, Carolee and their daughter Ambrea. Sons Jesse and Seth take care of the dairy herd. Carolee and Dave's younger daughters, Courtney and Elly, will be involved as they grow older.
"We wanted a business where we could work the family into it," Dave said.
The front of the processing plant has a retail area that they plan to develop more over time. They sell their yogurt plus products from Hansen's Dairy and WW Homestead Dairy in Waukon, and lettuce from Rolling Hills Greenhouse at West Union. The store attracts a steady steam of customers.
Sales and marketing manager Bob Howard said they are considering new products. Some day they hope to package their frozen yogurt, they're looking at a drinkable yogurt and possibly sour cream. If they make sour cream, they would like to include dried herbs from Rolling Hills Greenhouse.
Dave said Hansen's Farm Fresh Dairy, Sugar River Dairy and Iowa State University Extension have all been a great help in getting the business started. They received a USDA Value Added grant for marketing and getting product lines going.They've also worked with the Iowa Food Hub and with Teresa Wiemerslage through Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness and Farm to School.

the Dairy Tour

This morning before the tour at the Dairy we went to an Amish Bakery. We had real tasty rolls and donuts and there were lots of baking items and foods in bulk pkgs.

the back of the Amish Bakery. then we drove about 25 miles to the huge Dairy farm, owned by the University of Iowa

In the heart of northeast Iowa's dairy country, the Dairy Center sits on a hilltop just outside of Calmar, Iowa. The Dairy Center and Dairy Foundation work to bring together education, demonstration and research to foster the growth and prosperity of families who make dairy farming their way of life.

The Dairy Center is operated by the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation, a non-profit, grassroots organization formed to prepare young men and women to operate dairy farms, provide ongoing education for existing dairy farmers and serve as a public educational facility. The partnership with Northeast Iowa Community College allows students enrolled in agriculture programs to experience hands-on curriculum by working with the dairy herd.

The Dairy Center site includes an educational facility with classrooms and labs, a milking parlor, NEW robotic milking system, freestall barn and calf barn.
Here is a picture of the barn the cows come into to be milked, there's 8 milking stations on each side, in this part of the building
Here's a picture of the automated milking parlor...the cows come in and go out at will, they get a treat while their in so some of them just keep coming in over and over, but the computerized machines know when they were milked last and they can only give milk every 4 hours. the teats  or udders  are found by a lazer and when they are in correct position they start milking.
All the cows in this huge building eat this silage freely and can walk around any where in the building they want and there's soft sand where they lay down on.
there is another big building that house the Mother's to be...this calf is just a few hours old.
After the tour we got to make our own icecream!!! We put 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla in a small plastic bag, sealed it with duct tape to make sure it didn't leak, and put it in a large coffee can with rock salt and ice. then we rolled it back and forth on the table and in 10 min. we had icecream!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

fun at the Campout

We are still enjoying the cool weather here at Clermont. Today was in the upper 70's I think, and we usually run our little heater in the mornings for a little while.

This morning quite a few of us were going to Horsefalls and then a huge quilt shop in Monona. But my knee has been giving me fits so we did our laundry and later I went to Monona by myself. The quilt shop was downtown and I met up with a carload from the campout. But my knee was hurting so bad I just browsed for awhile and decided to leave, I got turned around as to how to get back to the highway that I came in on, and stopped and asked a guy...he said just go straight ahead to the stop sign then left, which I was headed that way anyway thinking that was the right street to take...then He laughed and said "Oh, you Texans"!

This picture and the next two were taken at Maggies diner, yesterday.

Norman Gibbs t-shirt  

This morning ready to head  out for more shopping.

We are eating way too good!